W. Va. Parks ‘Need $3M to Maintain Facilities’

September 25, 2013 by · Comments Off on W. Va. Parks ‘Need $3M to Maintain Facilities’ 

West Virginia State Parks need at least an additional $3 million a year of revenue to adequately maintain facilities, state parks chief Ken Caplinger told legislators Tuesday (Sept. 24).

The Charleston Gazette reported that Caplinger said the state parks system has never fully recovered from the June 2012 derecho storm that damaged and closed parks.

“It wasn’t just the impact from when the lights were out,” he told a legislative interim committee on Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “Our business has not rebounded to pre-storm levels.”

The system lost $1.5 million of revenue from state parks closures following the storm, but received a payment of just $500,000 from the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management for the lost income.

That hit at a bad time, with state budget cuts and higher operating expenses putting the squeeze on state parks, reducing available funds to maintain and repair a large and aging system, he said.

“We think of Twin Falls and Pipestem parks as new,” he noted. “These parks are 42, 43 years old.”

Caplinger said a number of possible revenue sources have been discussed, including increasing the soft drink tax, hotel-motel taxes, or severance tax, with a portion dedicated to state parks, but said he has not endorsed any tax options.

He said West Virginia is one of a handful of states that do not charge entry fees into state parks, and/or parking fees.

“We’re going to have to fix it and maintain it, or it’s going to fall down around us,” he said of the current state of state parks.

W. Va. State Parks: 54% Self-Sufficient, But …

August 28, 2013 by · Comments Off on W. Va. State Parks: 54% Self-Sufficient, But … 

Entryway to Pipestem State Resort Park

Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in the Spirit of Jefferson’s Farmer’s Advocate, Chares Town, W. Va.

West Virginia has more than three dozen state parks ranging in size from 8,292 acres at Holly River State Park in Webster County to a modest four acres at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Mason County, located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers at Point Pleasant.

But according to state parks director Ken Caplinger, time has taken its toll on this large, popular park system and millions of dollars are needed to enable the Division of Natural Resources to repair and overhaul it. He told a joint House-Senate finance subcommittee last week that DNR is not making any recommendations because this is a policy decision for the Legislature.

The biggest issue is where will the money come from to put the park system back on its feet. Caplinger gave legislators some “food for thought” with a list of ways other states have approached the problem including taxes on bottled water and soft drinks, severance taxes on natural resources, entry or parking fees at the park, tobacco taxes and even taxes on sporting goods related to camping.

The DNR has responsibility for 35 parks, five wildlife areas and two rail trails. Caplinger said 189 buildings are 75 years old or older and were built in the days of the Civilian Conversation Corps. The average age of state park buildings is 42 years.

A recent study conducted by the legislative auditor’s office indicated the state park system needs $3 million a year just for maintenance and equipment replacement, according to Caplinger.

Mishap at Pipestem

One of the most disturbing examples of current concerns voiced by Caplinger was an incident a year ago when the air conditioning/heating lines at Pipestem State Park — installed when the park was built 43 years ago — erupted near midnight, causing an explosion that triggered a fire. Sixty-five people in the lodge were evacuated but then allowed back inside when the fire was extinguished — or so they assumed.

“People were escorted back in the building and the equipment erupted again,” he told lawmakers. “We narrowly averted a tragic situation there. If it were not for alert security guards, it could have been really, really bad. We need about $1 million to replace those lines.”

The park system needs $1 million to invest in repairs or else the Pipestem lodge will have to be closed. A massive outdoor swimming pool on the upper level there is also crumbling. Caplinger said that “swimming pools leak when they are 45 years old.”

On the brighter side, West Virginia’s state park system has a self-sufficiency rating of 54%, compared to the national level of 45% and Chief Logan State Park enjoyed a $500,000 profit. And Caplinger agreed with Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, that more efforts to attract additional visitors is needed if the park system is going to move closer to self-sufficiency.


Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

July 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 


A view of the Glencoe campground near Sturgis, S.D.


From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

The operators of a Sturgis Motorcycle Rally venue are accused of illegally polluting Bear Butte Creek.

Sean Clark and Devorah Lopez, who run Glencoe Camp Resort, were indicted July 17 in U.S. District Court on two counts of point source pollution.

The indictment alleges they discharged dirt from earth moving equipment into the creek on at least two occasions in July 2012 without a permit.

Lopez bought the campground for $8.6 million in 2009.


From The Associated Press:

Three more state parks in Kentucky are about to gain the designation as “StormReady Supporters.”

Paintsville Lake State Park, Carr Creek Lake State Park and Yatesville Lake State Park are to be recognized next Monday.

Officials from the National Weather Service and the state Parks Department will attend a ceremony at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at Prestonsburg.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park was the first park to earn the designation in April 2010. Since then, the number of “StormReady” state parks in Kentucky has risen to 16.

By having the “StormReady” designation, a park can monitor weather, has a trained staff, can communicate weather warnings to guests and employees and is able to provide shelter. The park also has to be able to communicate with state and local emergency management offices for assistance.


From The Associated Press:

Vacationers can now reserve cabins at West Virginia’s state parks for just two nights instead of a full week.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced the change Monday (July 22).

Ken Caplinger, chief of the Parks and Recreation Section, says officials have seen a growing interest in shorter-term rentals rather than the weeklong stays, which was the custom for decades. He says many parks already have offered special three- or four-night reservation packages, and officials decided to take it a step further for the rest of the summer.

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting:

Imagine being in a wheelchair or having a prosthetic leg and trying to enjoy the outdoors by hiking trails in a state or national park. The rugged terrain and thick brush would make that nearly impossible for some. A group of Boy Scouts left the jamboree site at the Summit Bechtel Reserve July 19 to make it a little bit easier for those with mobility impairments to enjoy the outdoors.

More than 300 Boy Scouts from around the country teamed up with the National Park Service at the Glade Creek Trailhead along the New River Gorge to build wheelchair-accessible trails and picnic areas.

Other scout-led projects at Glade Creek include improvements to an existing handicap-accessible campsite, and building an accessible picnic area near a boat ramps near the mouth of the Creek.


From the Southeast Texas Record:

The owner of a Bacliff RV park and one of his clients have initiated legal action following an alleged arson.

William Montgomery, doing business as Pelican RV Park, and Artesia, N.M., resident Joe Torres allege that Bacliff resident Shirley Ekstrom is responsible for a fire two years ago that damaged “multiple” fixtures and properties, including Torres’s 2007 Holiday RV, at the subject facility.

Montgomery and Torres’s lawsuit was filed July 15 in Galveston County District Court.

According to the original petition, the July 17, 2011, blaze in question originated in Eckstrom’s adjacent garage and “quickly” spread to the RV Park.

Montgomery adds the fire took about three hours to extinguish as well as left “significant” destruction in its wake.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Department determined arson to be the cause of the inferno the plaintiffs assert Eckstrom intentionally caused.

The suit shows the fire consumed Torres’s vehicle and the contents contained within while it purportedly cost Montgomery three months of income.

Torres’s insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., is also being sued because it apparently failed and refused to cover his reported damages.

A jury trial is requested.

From KGBT-TV, Harlingen:

A suspect is behind bars a month after the burglarizing 11 RVs and a building at the Texas Trader RV park in La Feria.

Jeremy Castillo allegedly committed the second-degree state jail felony when he and three others went on a theft rampage last month.

Castillo was booked at the Cameron County Jail on July 18 on 11 counts of burglary.

Erik Valdez, Dakota Ruiz and Noe Mascorro were previously arrested for their part in the theft rampage.

The four men allegedly used a pressure jack to break into the building’s side garage door.

According to court documents obtained by Action 4 News, the owner said he was missing a handgun from his office.

The men also allegedly stole TVs, knives and other items and a stashed them in an abandoned house.

The four allegedly broke into the place because they thought there was no surveillance cameras, alarms or security guards.

Castillo’s bond was set at $240,000 for the 11 counts of burglary of a habitation and one count of burglary of a building.


Map shows major active wildfires in the Western U.S. Fires marked in red number is most serious, followed by blue and black. Map courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.


From County10, Lander:

The official Shoshone National Forest Twitter feed announced that at about 2:50 p.m. Monday (July 22) the evacuation of the campgrounds within Sinks Canyon State Park.

The U.S. Forest Service has dubbed the blaze “Fairfield Fire.”

Air crews have begun arriving to the scene of the fire that began on Fairfield Hill in Sinks Canyon. It is unknown at this time whether fire retardant drops have occurred.

Despite the voluntary evacuation of the Central Wyoming College Sinks Canyon Center, homes at the base of the canyon have not been asked by officials to evacuate as of 3:40 p.m.


From KBOI-TV, Boise:

Campgrounds near Redfish Lake in the Stanley area are being evacuated due to a nearby wildfire burning in the area.

The 210 Fire is burning off of Highway 75 near milepost 185, just south of Stanley.

Sawtooth National Forest Officials estimate the fire has grown to more than 300 acres in size and structures in the area are threatened.

The U.S. Forest Service says that voluntary evacuations are in place for the area.

Redfish Lake Lodge reports on its Facebook page that they have temporarily evacuated but are planning on being open Tuesday.

Local restaurants and inns in Stanley told KBOI 2News that they saw a slow stream of campers coming in to books rooms for the night.


Latest Briefs from RV Parks & Campgrounds

May 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on Latest Briefs from RV Parks & Campgrounds 


From the Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Xcel Energy Inc. must remain on the sidelines of a legal battle that could decide whether the utility’s coal-burning power plant in Becker, Minn., must cut emissions to reduce haze over Voyageurs National Park.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron on Wednesday denied Minneapolis-based Xcel’s request to intervene in a federal lawsuit by the National Parks Conservation Association and five other groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The suit accuses the agency of not enforcing air pollution rules at Xcel’s Sherco power plant — a charge EPA has denied.

Mayeron said Xcel had no legal right to join the suit even though it could cost $280 million for new pollution controls. Xcel has denied allegations by the U.S. Interior Department that the plant’s emissions cause haze, or reduced visibility, over Voyageurs in northern Minnesota and Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.


From the Eagle Tribune, North Andover, Mass:

Anyone who hasn’t seen a New Hampshire State Park license plate isn’t alone. There are fewer than 1,200 of them statewide.

The state’s conservation — moose — plate has proven quite popular, with nearly 45,000 vehicles sporting them. But the state parks plate is not enjoying the same results.

The plates have been available for purchase since May 2, 2011, but year to date for fiscal year 2013, just 1,193 plates are on the road.

That’s a disappointing number for state officials, who saw the plate as a new revenue source for the self-funded state parks system.

House Bill 1620 established the special license plate in 2010 and the plates became available a year later.

For $85, plus a first-time new plate fee of $8, a car owner gets free admission to any of the state’s day-use parks, including the popular beach parks in Hampton and at Wallis Sands. The plate covers admission for passengers, too.

“It’s a great deal, but there’s an upfront hit,” said Amy Bassett, state parks department spokeswoman.


From the Rapid City Journal:

South Dakota could see a record amount of camping in state parks and recreation areas this year, Parks Director Doug Hofer said.

A prolonged winter set back visitation but the trend appears to be turning with the weather. Nearly all of the 4,190 campsites at state parks and recreation areas were filled over the Memorial Day weekend.


From The Associated Press:

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has launched a review of water use at Peninsula State Park as part of a project designed to help improve water efficiency across the state park system.

The DNR has hired a Franklin-based plumbing company to test Peninsula State Park’s toilets, pipes and other plumbing for leaks and gauge the plumbing’s efficiency.

After the plumbing company files its report the DNR will decide what improvements to make immediately at the Door County park. The project includes a follow-up review in May 2014.

The study is part of a project aimed at developing recommendations to cut all state parks’ water use and costs.


From the Charleston Daily Mail:

It’s been a rough past 12 months for West Virginia’s state parks system.

Last June, a system of severe wind storms termed a derecho wreaked havoc on much of the state, causing damage to many of the 36 state parks. Just as cleanup efforts from the derecho were winding down, along came Sandy.

Kenneth Caplanger, chief of the Division of Natural Resources, said the derecho caused $1.3 million in direct and indirect losses. “We took a very large revenue hit, but business was just starting to pick up and get back to normal when Superstorm Sandy came through,” he said.

When Sandy hit last October, it caused damage to six state parks and one wildlife management area.

Much of the debris, fallen trees and property damage have been repaired or removed in the following months, but one park remains closed and others still bear signs of the storms.

Brad Reed, district administrator for the parks system, said most of the damage from Sandy at Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley, Holly River, Hawks Nest, Kumbrabow State Parks and Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area has been repaired.

Only Cathedral State Park remains closed.

Hoy Murphy, public information officer for the DNR, estimated damage from Sandy cost the parks system more than $200,000.

Reed said cleanup costs from both storms, which so far have totaled well over $1 million, have been handled by a combination of in-house and contracted workers.

Thanks to reimbursements from the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Murphy said the parks system has “largely been made whole for the majority of expenditures.”


From West Fair Communicaitons, White Plains, N.Y.:

As usual, all of Connecticut’s 140 state parks and forests were open for Memorial Day weekend.

What makes this year special is that the park system is celebrating the start of its 100th season.

“The 2013 summer season promises to be one of the very best in the history of our park system,” Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said in a press release. “As we head into the celebration of the Centennial of our parks it is more attractive than ever for families to get out and have fun in the outdoors.”

The park system has a number of projects under way. The Connecticut State Parks mobile app is up and running, nearly a quarter of the 100 new, rustic camping cabins are now open and several renovations and utility upgrades are in progress.

In Fairfield County, the Sherwood Island State Park in Westport is having solar photovoltaic panels installed to improve energy efficiency and water conservation.

W. Va. OKs $52.5M Bond for Two Parks

March 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on W. Va. OKs $52.5M Bond for Two Parks 

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority (EDA) voted unanimously on Thursday (March 21) to issue up to $52.5 million in bonds to help improvement projects at two state parks: Cacapon Resort State Park in the Eastern Panhandle and Beech Fork State Park in Wayne and Cabell counties, outside Huntington.

Roughly half of the $52.5 million in bond funds would go to each park, under the resolution EDA passed on Thursday. The funds will come from the state Lottery Commission, the Charleston Gazette reported.

Opened to the public in July 1937, Cacapon State Park has 6,000 acres offering visitors lake activities, hiking opportunities, golfing, a golf academy, vacation cabins and a restaurant.

Cacapon Mountain, at 2,300 feet, is the Eastern Panhandle’s highest mountain peak. The park is located on the mountain’s eastern slope, while the Cacapon River flows along the base of its western slope.

According to the EDA resolution, up to $24.5 million in funds will help finance a variety of improvement projects which “may include 78 new lodge guest rooms, lodge kitchen and dining relocation, new outdoor dining area, lounge, spa, indoor/outdoor pool, additional conference space, lobby and office renovation.”

The Cacapon project may also include “golf course renovations, a new manager’s residence, small campground and dam safety work” in the Morgan County park.

Cacapon, according to the resort park’s website, is “a derivative of a Shawnee Indian word meaning ‘medicine waters,’ a reference to the area’s mineral waters that have been renowned through history for their healing powers.”

The Beech Fork State project loan, which could also reach $24.5 million, will help finance similar changes and improvements, including: a new 75-room guest lodge, kitchen and dining facilities, conference space, a gift shop, an indoor/outdoor pool, exercise room, a new road and parking lot, as well as a lakeside walkway and boat dock.


The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

December 28, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From The News Herald:

At the start of each year, many Americans resolve to meet new fitness goals, and parks across the country are offering them a healthy way to kick off 2013.

State parks systems in all 50 states will be hosting guided “First Day Hike” programs Tuesday, Jan. 1.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service will host more than 60 events, more than any other state. Nationwide, there are 627 First Day Hikes scheduled.


From the Exponent Telegram, Clarksburg:

State parks in West Virginia suffered a major blow when Superstorm Sandy took down trees and power lines in October.

When all is said and done, property damage and income loss due to the summer derecho and Sandy will easily be $2 to $2.5 million, according to Kenneth Caplinger, chief of parks.

Compared to this time last year, revenues are down $1.2 million, he said.

That number is made up of direct income loss, and a lingering effect of people traveling less.

Thousands of trees are down at state parks.

“We’ll literally be cleaning up from this storm probably for the next several years,” he said.

“The snowstorm wasn’t quite as bad as the June windstorm because we were winding down October business,” he said. “We were just starting to bounce back from (the derecho) and then the snowstorm hit.”

At last report, the walk down to Blackwater Falls in Davis was still closed because of heavy damage from falling trees, Caplinger said.

Cathedral State Park in Preston County features six miles of walking trails and a day-use area but is still closed due to downed trees.

At Holly River State Park, the second largest park in the West Virginia Park System, power has been out since the storm, according to Caplinger.


Post Superstorm Sandy Cleanup Continues

November 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Post Superstorm Sandy Cleanup Continues 

While the federal government and relief organizations were mobilizing to help victims of Hurriane Sandy, so were many members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), according to a press release.

“Calls from our members all over the country inundated FMCA’s Cincinnati headquarters,” says Jerry Yeatts, executive director of FMCA. “They wanted to assist members who were affected by the severe storm. They also asked how they could help the millions of Americans who never stepped into an RV.”

While many FMCA members are helping individually, FMCA’s board and staff decided the best way to help the most people in the most efficient way was to encourage its 90,000 members to contact established relief agencies directly.

To this end, FMCA issued a letter to all its members encouraging them to work with agencies like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as these organizations have established protocols to organize volunteers and collect donations. The letter even provided direct links to these organizations.

“We are proud that so many members immediately stepped up to help those who need it in the aftermath of such an awful event,” adds Yeatts.


Sandy continues to create problems at three of West Virginia’s favorite state parks, the State Journal, Charleston, reported.

Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort in Tucker County are dealing with power outages like most of the county. Power is out at both parks and park officials hope by sometime next week to resume operations.

Staff at Holly River State Park in Webster County is cutting their way through downed trees to create access to the park for additional assistance. A hillside slip at Holly River also has blocked road access to the park cabin area. Employees from Pipestem Resort State Park sent assistance after that park resumed operation.

Superintendents from Cedar Creek in Gilmer County went to check on Holly River employees and guests and met Superintendent Ken McClintic sawing his way out of the park to create access and to aid cabin guests as they were sawing their way in. Other Holly River employees also were working on gaining access.

“Systemwide we have a lot of dedicated superintendent and employees,” said Brad Reed, district administrator for West Virginia State Parks. “Storms of this nature are overwhelming by the sheer amount of trees and power outages. Our employees also have to be mindful of guests on the areas and their safety or evacuation as well as being the muscle behind the chainsaws, plows and shovels.”

State Campground Association Reports

In Maryland, Vicki Vitkum, co-owner of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Hagerstown, reported, “We lost one cabin deck due to a tree and our T1 line was out until Friday, so we didn’t have phones or Internet.”

In Pennsylvania, Beverly Gruber, executive director of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA), said, “The PCOA office (in New Tripoli) didn’t have electricity until Friday and we know some in the Poconos are still without power. Nobody has called for assistance, however.”

In Connecticut, private parks managed to escape, for the most part, Sandy’s wrath.

“Power outages, communication outages and branches down, some on a few trailers,” said Sandra Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Campground Owners Association (CCOA) in summing  up for Woodall’s Campground Management the private parks’ damage. “There are no parks in the southwestern section of Connecticut. That is where the worst damage was done. Last year’s hurricane Irene and the October snow storm did more damage.”

Meanwhile, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Conn., reopened on Saturday.

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)  Commissioner Daniel C. Etsy noted there still is a great deal of work to be done, especially at the coastal parks, the Shoreline Times, New Haven, reported.

Esty commended staff for their work during and after the storm.

“I want to thank all of the DEEP staff who worked so hard before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy to prepare our parks for the storm, and get them re-opened to the public as soon as possible,” he said.

This past week, the site has been utilized as a staging area for utilities and debris management contractors.

DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said this was the only reason the park was closed, and there wasn’t any significant damage done to the state park.

The public will be able to access East Beach and Meigs Point, but West Beach and Middle Beach will remain closed.

Those areas are still being utilized for maintenance trucks.

Park visitors are asked to use caution on trails and forest roads, as some debris has not been cleared.


West Va. Parks Hold ‘Governor’s Day to Serve’

September 26, 2012 by · Comments Off on West Va. Parks Hold ‘Governor’s Day to Serve’ 

West Virginia state parks are offering opportunities for residents and visitors who want to take part in the “Governor’s Day to Serve” this upcoming weekend.

West Virginia State Parks Chief Ken Caplinger says the Saturday event is a chance for people to lend a hand with state parks projects and to help others in need.

Several hikes have been scheduled to help clean up trails across the state, including ones at North Bend State Park, Tomlinson Run State Park, Twin Falls State Park, Pipestem State Park and Cacapon Resort State Park.

In addition, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says Tygart Lake State Park is conducting a non-perishable food drive for the Taylor County Food Bank.

More information can be found on the agency’s website at

Cabin Discounts Offered in West Virginia Parks

September 10, 2012 by · Comments Off on Cabin Discounts Offered in West Virginia Parks 

State parks in West Virginia are offering various discounts to get campers into cabins this fall.Details on offers follow, according to a news release:

  • Cabins and cottages at Twin Falls Resort, Bluestone, Holly River, Cass Scenic Railroad, Pipestem Resort, Beech Fork, and Watoga state parks and also at Cabwaylingo, Kumbrabow and Greenbrier state forests are extending 20 percent off the standard rate for rentals of two or more nights, Sunday – Thursday in September.
  • Cabin stays at Lost River State Park lengthen a visit with the popular “retreat to relax” option. “Stay two nights at regular rate and the third night is fee free,” said Mike Foster, superintendent at Lost River. “We’re quite a distance from most folks in West Virginia, so when anyone makes the trek to Lost River, they will want to spend an extra night or check out later than the normal time.” Lost River, located in Hardy County, offers the third night free option from Sept. 17 – Nov. 22 and again from Jan. 2 – May 23, 2013. Advance reservations are required. The park features horseback riding stables, hiking, and CCC structures.
  • North Bend State Park, near Cairo and Harrisville, changes things a bit with a “cozy cabin getaway” that includes bike riding and boating. From Sept. 17-27, stay two nights, Sunday – Thursday in a cabin for up to four people, get bike rentals or kayak rentals for four hours of outdoor fun, box lunches for four for a day, and a $25 gift shop voucher, for a $299 cost which includes taxes. “We see couples and friends that travel together looking for less busy times for travel in the middle of a week. They find greater savings and a more relaxed visit,” said Steve Jones, park superintendent. North Bend creates and offers a wide range of lodge and cabin packages and special event weekends throughout the year.
  • Bluestone State Park recently rolled out a pontoon boat use that’s included with cabin rentals in September and October in addition to the September mid-week discount offer. The “Pontoon/Cabin” package varies based on cabin type and days selected, but the rate package includes a four-hour pontoon boat rental with gas and oil costs included. “Our customers have asked for packaged rates that include cabins and pontoon use and available on weekends or weekdays, and we’re happy to provide them,” said Brett McMillion, Bluestone State Park superintendent.
  • Cacapon Resort State Park, which is celebrating a 75-year anniversary in 2012, has a Diamond Jubilee promotion that takes $75 off the total rental cost of a three or more night stay.
  • Cass Scenic Railroad is not typically considered as having cabins, but the state park does have company houses. “Twenty-two of the original houses are restored and rented as overnight options,” said Rob Sovine, park superintendent at Cass Scenic Railroad. Like other state parks, Cass extends a 20 percent off rate on Sunday – Thursday rental of two or more nights. Three or more daily train trips up Cheat Mountain continue through Oct. 28, with the exception of Sept. 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, and 20, when train trips are not scheduled at Cass Scenic Railroad. Train trips resume Memorial Day weekend, but the company houses are rented year-round.

West Virginia’s state parks that feature lodges and restaurants and also have cabins onsite are open year round. Cabins at Lost River and Watoga state parks are also available for year-round travel destinations. Visit for information, events and travel accommodations.


Interest Up for Camping in West Virginia State Parks

March 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on Interest Up for Camping in West Virginia State Parks 

An unusually mild winter is driving higher than average interest in early-season camping across West Virginia’s more than 25 state park campgrounds, WVNS-TV, Ghent, W. Va., reported.

According to State Parks Chief Ken Caplinger, traffic at the official state parks website have been well above average since the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) started accepting applications for the 2012 camping season on Feb. 15.

West Virginia’s state parks and forests have more than 25 campgrounds totaling 1,818 total camping sites, ranging from primitive sites to those with full RV hookups. Most parks include sites that are reservable as well as first-come, first-served.

Another sign that has the WVDNR hopeful for the 2012 camping season is the addition of a 46-site campground at Little Beaver State Park in Daniels, Raleigh County. That site includes 30 with water and electricity hookups.

Reservations are taken only by mail until March 15, by mail or phone from March 15-31 and by mail, phone or in person beginning April 1.

Reservation forms may be downloaded from the state parks website,, or by calling the Charleston office at (304) 558-2764. For more information about West Virginia State Parks and Forests, visit

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